I don't see a Tarasenko trade happening with the Islanders. They're $85K over the cap, so they'd have to free up some money even if the Blues retained some salary. A lot of the premier teams (Tampa Bay, Colorado, Vegas) suffered some free-agent/cap-related losses, so I think this is a more wide-open Cup chase this season. So I'm really at a loss to come up with one team as a Cup favorite.
Thomas would still be an RFA after a one-year deal, although I believe he'd be arbitration eligible. After an injury-plagued off year, Thomas doesn't have much leverage in terms of what he makes next season. If you're Thomas, you probably bet on yourself and just take a one-year deal.
I agree with your general premise. If a trade market hasn't developed by now, it's increasingly unlikely it does before the start of the season. Again, all it takes is one phone call. But right now only 10 teams have $8 million or more in cap space - and a lot of those 10 or bottom feeders such as Buffalo, Detroit, Anaheim, Ottawa, New Jersey, etc.
Again, the Blues could be cap compliant under the scenario you describe just by waiving Santini and opening the season with 22 players.. And certainly, if Tarasenko comes back as a 25-goal scorer, the Blues could be formidable on offense barring a rash of injuries.
Maroon has one year left on his contract. As for a possible return - I doubt it; he'll be 34 at this end of next season.
First off, Santini has a two-way contract (a luxury the Blues don't have with Tarasenko). So if you release Santini and he goes unclaimed - the Blues can re-sign him for just $300K to play in the AHL. If the Blues release Tarasenko and he goes unclaimed, they're still on the hook to pay him $7.5 million. Tarasenko has a no-trade clause. But he can be released.
Not sure what you mean here. Are you talking about his play last season with the Blues? For Team Russia in the Worlds? Or both.
Possible. Sometimes familiarity helps get things done. But sometimes it makes two parties wary of each other.
Not sure in terms of hockey. I will try to check into this.
Yeah, looks like he signed an AHL contract last week while I was finishing off my down time. After a strong 2018-19 season for San Antonio, Reinke struggled the following season, Even so, as you mentioned, the Blues thought enough of him to bring him up and have him play one playoff game last season when all the injuries/COVID hit the team's blue line.. So I am a little surprised he wasn't re-signed by the Blues. They have only `12 D-men currently under contract in the organization, which assuming they keep 7 D-men for the "varsity" and no one gets hurt, leaves only 5 D-men for Springfield, which isn't enough to form 3 pairings.
I think some of the struggles obviously are due to the defense in front of him, particularly the inability to clear out the front of the net. But there's no doubt the league knows a lot more about Binnington's game than they did when he burst onto the scene in January of 2019. One thing I heard a while back is that teams like to try to go back door on him because he doesn't move as well laterally as Jake Allen did.
You raise a lot of interesting points. Very early last season, I wrote about the Blues trying to mesh their Stanley Cup identify of defense, physical play and relentless checking, with a roster that had more speed and more offensive ability. Well, it never completely meshed. For all the occasional instances of flash and dash, the Blues never did enough of the heavy lifting to play consistently winning hockey. There wasn't enough buy-in over the course of the season to play the kind of defense that has been a hallmark of Blues hockey for the last decade. Finding that proper mix, finding that type of buy-in, will be one of the keys to the season.
As for the roster battles question: There shouldn't be many roster spots up for grabs. But I am interested to see 1.) How the lines shake out.; 2.) Where Kostin fits in; 3.) What the third pairing looks like. As for the Traverse City coach, I was under the impression that Drew Bannister would be coaching them once again, but I'm not sure that's the case.
Schenn made the all-star game in 2017-18 playing at center, so he's shown he can play the position. Thomas has the capability to be a top six center. And if you move Tarasenko up to a line with O'Reilly, that means you bump Perron off right wing. And given the success the O'Reilly-Perron tandem has consistently displayed, why would you want to change that?
If not for the highly unusual Tarasenko situation, I think it would be a pretty normal situation entering the season. The Blues have had players coming off injury before. They've had RFA's that were still unsigned close to camp before - Vince Dunn didn't sign until Dec. 31 prior to last season; just 3 days before camp; Ivan Barbashev didn't signed until Sept. 1 the year before that, or just a couple of weeks before camp. But the Tarasenko situation is pretty much unprecedented.
Kyrou certainly displayed more growth last season, and was rewarded for it. Thomas is coming off his worst of 3 seasons with the Blues, in large part because of injuries. So that certainly could factor into the fact Thomas remains unsigned at this point.
I think I know who you're talking about. Maybe I should check it out, eh?
I watched most of his games in the tournament, and based on what you can see on TV, I'd say he was so-so; maybe a little bit better than so-so. He had two assists in three games. And also had a game-winning shootout goal. But he wasn't overwhelming. It was a watered-down field for the Worlds as well, perhaps in part due to COVID.
We'll find out soon enough. I learned very quickly with Armstrong to expect anything.
I rarely look at the names of the questioners. We're 3 hours into the chat and I've answered all but 3 questions. So unless Barry the Appliance Guy has asked every question, I think I'm answering other people.
It is possible as you say, that Tarasenko's issues with the trainers won't spill over to the players. I will be curious to hear what the players say on the record about Tarasenko's presence if he is there during camp and once the season starts.
Tarasenko's end game was to get out of St. Louis. I'm sure he thought he'd be dealt long ago. That didn't happen. So until a trade materializes, the best thing for Tarasenko is to report to camp in as best shape as possible and play as well as he can.
I do not want to get into details. But I respectfully disagree with your premise.
That's it for this week. Thanks as always for your participation. See you next week.